The 5 Biggest Regrets People Have Before They Die

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Original article published by: Theneeds

Want to hear the strangest thing on earth? Death is perhaps the most constructive fact of our existence. Being aware of death throughout your life can beget the healthiest attitude: one of perspective.

Countless people throughout history knew this too. The ancient Greeks used to “practice death every day,” and the Toltecs would use death as “fuel to live and to love.” The constant reminder ensured they would live more boldly, more kindly, and with less fear.

The Good News About Death

Here’s how the morbid subject can actually benefit us: Our limited days on earth are the ultimate impetus to live with less fear and more intention.

The majority of the time, many of us live as if there will be no end to our days. We stay in unfulfilling careers. We remain in unhappy relationships. We will travel the world “one day.” We fail to tell people how much they matter to us. We hide our real truth, gifts, or talents from the world because we are scared of being judged and criticized.

Losing a parent when I was young made this much more real for me. I felt blessed to come to the realization of how precarious and precious life is while still in my younger years. But you don’t need a loss early in your life to take advantage of the wisdom that awaits you. Learn from people who know.

One of my favorite books is Bronnie Ware’s international bestseller The Top Five Regrets of the Dying. Ware was a hospice nurse in Australia for several years and cared for patients in the last few weeks of their lives. She writes with incredible clarity how similar regrets surfaced again and again.

Surprise, surprise: There was no mention of insufficient status; undelivered revenge; or sadness over not being the thinnest, prettiest, or most famous. These were the most common regrets. (Numbers one and five could make me weep.)

The 5 Most Common Regrets

I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

“This was the most common regret of all,” Ware writes. “When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.”

I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.

“All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.”

I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

“Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.”

I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

“Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks, and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved.”

I wish that I had let myself be happier.

“This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content.”

http://www.theneeds.com/sport/n11304408/the-5-biggest-regrets-people-have-before-greatist

Writings of William James: A Comprehensive Edition

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Book review by Maria Popova

How to be extraordinary: William James on the path of psychology of the second wind and how to release untapped human potential.

“Compared with what we ought to be, we are only half awake… We are making use of only a small part of our possible mental and physical resources.”

“We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake,” Henry David Thoreau wrote in contemplating what it really means to be awake, adding: “Only one in a million is awake enough for effective intellectual exertion, only one in a hundred million to a poetic or divine life.”Those rare individuals are the ones who lift themselves out of ordinary life’s mediocrity and, through the sheer force of their creative and intellectual wakefulness, rise to the level of the extraordinary. They are the people we come to celebrate as luminaries, those whose ideas endure for centuries. But what is this mysterious force that jolts a human being into such wakeful aliveness from which greatness blossoms?

That’s what legendary philosopher and founding father of modern psychology William James (January 11, 1842–August 26, 1910) addressed half a century after Thoreau’s famous words, in a superb speech he delivered before the American Philosophical Association at Columbia University in December of 1906. It was published in the January 1907 issue of the journal Philosophical Review under the title “The Energies of Men” and was eventually included in the out-of-print 1967 compendium The Writings of William James: A Comprehensive Edition (public library), which remains the finest record of James’s mind to date.

The Author

william James

William James (January 11, 1842 – August 26, 1910) was an American philosopher and psychologist who was also trained as a physician. The first educator to offer a psychology course in the United States, James was one of the leading thinkers of the late nineteenth century and is believed by many to be one of the most influential philosophers the United States has ever produced, while others have labelled him the “Father of American psychology.”

Along with Charles Sanders Peirce and John Dewey, he is considered to be one of the greatest figures associated with the philosophical school known as pragmatism, and is also cited as one of the founders of the functional psychology. He also developed the philosophical perspective known as radical empiricism. James’ work has influenced intellectuals such as Émile Durkheim, W. E. B. Du Bois, Edmund Husserl, Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Hilary Putnam, and Richard Rorty.

Born into a wealthy family, James was the son of the Swedenborgian theologian Henry James Sr and the brother of both the prominent novelist Henry James, and the diarist Alice James. James wrote widely on many topics, including epistemology, education, metaphysics, psychology, religion, and mysticism. Among his most influential books are Principles of Psychology, which was a groundbreaking text in the field of psychology, Essays in Radical Empiricism, an important text in philosophy, and The Varieties of Religious Experience, which investigated different forms of religious experience.

William James was born at the Astor House in New York City. He was the son of Henry James Sr., a noted and independently wealthy Swedenborgian theologian well acquainted with the literary and intellectual elites of his day. The intellectual brilliance of the James family milieu and the remarkable epistolary talents of several of its members have made them a subject of continuing interest to historians, biographers, and critics.

James interacted with a wide array of writers and scholars throughout his life, including his godfather Ralph Waldo Emerson, his godson William James Sidis, as well as Charles Sanders Peirce, Bertrand Russell, Josiah Royce, Ernst Mach, John Dewey, Macedonio Fernández, Walter Lippmann, Mark Twain, Horatio Alger, Jr., Henri Bergson and Sigmund Freud.

William James received an eclectic trans-Atlantic education, developing fluency in both German and French. Education in the James household encouraged cosmopolitanism. The family made two trips to Europe while William James was still a child, setting a pattern that resulted in thirteen more European journeys during his life. His early artistic bent led to an apprenticeship in the studio of William Morris Hunt in Newport, Rhode Island, but he switched in 1861 to scientific studies at the Lawrence Scientific School of Harvard University.

In his early adulthood, James suffered from a variety of physical ailments, including those of the eyes, back, stomach, and skin. He was also tone deaf. He was subject to a variety of psychological symptoms which were diagnosed at the time as neurasthenia, and which included periods of depression during which he contemplated suicide for months on end. Two younger brothers, Garth Wilkinson (Wilky) and Robertson (Bob), fought in the Civil War. The other three siblings (William, Henry, and Alice James) all suffered from periods of invalidism.

He took up medical studies at Harvard Medical School in 1864. He took a break in the spring of 1865 to join naturalist Louis Agassiz on a scientific expedition up the Amazon River, but aborted his trip after eight months, as he suffered bouts of severe seasickness and mild smallpox. His studies were interrupted once again due to illness in April 1867. He traveled to Germany in search of a cure and remained there until November 1868; at that time he was 26 years old. During this period, he began to publish; reviews of his works appeared in literary periodicals such as the North America.

http://www.amazon.com/William-James/e/B00BUHKE94